The Unconventional Breakfast Challenge

I once had a chemistry professor who bragged about eating only hamburgers for breakfast. While I don’t particularly agree with his choice of unconventional breakfast as the healthiest option, he does make a great point: breakfast doesn’t have to always consist of what we consider “breakfast foods.”

The problem with breakfast is that it’s often a stack of carbs drizzled with heart destroying sugar, or a bowl of carbs with a few pieces of dried fruit on top, or simply just coffee – the fuel of America. There is a surprising lack of protein, fruits, veggies, or really anything nutritious in these choices. Even some of the better options, like eggs, are simply fried up and plopped on a white english muffin with saturated-fat-loaded cheese (and maybe 3 spinach leaves if we’re really feeling nutritious). Most of our “breakfast meats”  are loaded with sodium, preservatives, and loads of other substances I can’t pronounce.

Here in America, we can’t fathom the idea of vegetables in anything other than an egg dish at breakfast, or of any meat other than bacon, sausage, or ham at breakfast. Looking at the cuisine of other countries can be a great model as we step toward better nutrition. In Korea, spinach and spicy cucumbers are the norm. Tomatoes, cucumbers, and olives are served with many Middle Eastern breakfasts. And in Peru, Ceviche (a seafood dish made from fresh raw fish marinated in citrus juices and spiced with chilli peppers) is a popular dish any time of day.

So let’s get out of the American mindset that breakfast is simply cereal, or bacon and eggs, or pancakes, or worse – SKIPPED! Let’s start our days right with some protein, whole grains, fruits, and vegetables and skip the sugar and sodium-loaded meats. You’ll be pleasantly surprised at the kind of changes you start making in the rest of your day, simply because breakfast kicked your day off well!

Try these breakfasts for a change!

  • Turkish breakfast (whole wheat bread with thinly sliced cheese, olives, tomatoes, and cucumbers on top)
  • Plain Greek yogurt with berries and nuts
  • An assorted breakfast with hard boiled eggs, avocado, grapes, carrots and cucumbers with hummus, and apple slices with natural peanut butter
  • Overnight chia pudding with berries, mangoes, or other fruit
  • Steel cut oats with apple slices and walnuts or pecans
  • Eggs scrambled with spinach and tomatoes with an avocado on the side
  • Leftovers from your healthy dinner the night before

We want to see your creations! Share your unconventional, healthy breakfast options on the On Target Fitness facebook page!


Written by Erin Martineau, Licensed Dietitian

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